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HALF TIME
Yesterday was midsummer. The longest day of the year, and in Sweden at least, the official start of summer.

The temperature? 12 degrees Celcius.

The weather? Buckets. Clouds. Umbrellas. Gusting.

We spent the entire day with the friends that we usually spend Midsummer with, starting at noon (!). We haven't always spent midsummer with them but of the past 19 midsummers we've probably spent at least half. They are a group of old Scout friends of Anders' and their wives and children. Nowadays, some of the children are disappearing from the get-togethers. My kids would have been some of them if they'd had a choice, but they didn't.

We had a sandwich and then walked down to the village celebration clad in rain gear and carrying a fleet of umbrellas. The celebration consisted of a huge tent in which everyone was crammed with various booths for face painting, popcorn, can pitches and hotdogs. They were dancing around a maypole INSIDE the tent, despite the huge one standing directly outside it, because of the rain. As soon as the rain let up a bit, they all trooped outside and resumed dancing around the official pole. Some of our girls joined in, but dropped out again fairly quickly. We stood around for awhile and then the kids and I went inside and found a table to sit at. Everyone else stood outside and waited for it to rain again, which it promptly did.

We amused ourselves with people-watching, though alas, no cellphone photos were taken of the best of the pack. It turned out that what everyone was waiting for was a local amateur dance troupe to start their performance. We were seated at the back of a standing crowd so we couldn't see anything except glimpses now and then. One glimpse was of several kids throwing backpacks into the air in a synchronized manner to Alice Cooper's School's Out For the Summer, an elderly man with a long grey ponytail waving his arms about to a Swedish dance-band classic and a group of boys old enough to be thoroughly embarrassing, wearing all white outfits complete with feathers and wings, doing a modern dance number.

It was an ENDLESS show. It went on and on and on...over an hour at least. Finally, we got the call that our group was heading back to the house. Altogether we walked about 3 kilometers. When we got back, we all stripped out of our wet outer gear and headed in for fika: strawberry cake and coffee.

Then, during a lull in the rain, we played a bunch of hilarious games, divided into 4 teams. I was in the Clubs (the others were Diamonds, Hearts and Spades). One station consisted of shooting a BB gun at bottles and cans. I sucked. Karin did surprising well, hitting her target nearly every time. One station was throwing a pile of differently sized and weighted balls into a bucket. I did pretty well at that, throwing overhand, while everyone else went the polite underhand way. Take note: you have much more control throwing overhand.

One station was building as high a tower as possible using the bricks from a Jenga game. This was much more difficult than you might expect due to the sudden gusts of wind that kept knocking it down. The last station was guessing what spices were placed in 7 bowls on the counter. We sucked at that, too...we only guessed 2 of them correctly. The final game was racing across the lawn and pulling Cola-strings (a kind of gummy candy, and I find them disgusting) off a line with our mouths. I hate that kind of thing, but everyone entered into the games with a will, so I managed. Karin ate mine for me.

After that we got dinner ready. Anders had made 4 different kinds of herring for our contribution to the potluck. We had all the traditional menu items except salmon, which I missed. A yummy selection of herring, hardboiled eggs, fresh veggies, new potatoes, meatballs, "prince" sausages, breads, crackers, and cheeses. It was fun to sit and chat since we were inside due to the weather...no one was freezing or wet. :)

After dinner and a suitable interval, there was yet more food for dessert: fresh strawberries served with choices of cream, milk, whipped cream, meringues and sugar.

By this time, I was feeling a little headachey and tired. It was getting late and much shnapps had been drunk and all the shnapps songs sung. I went in the living room and played phone games with Martin for a bit after a nice conversation with two of the other wives about teenagers and the issues they come with. There was even more food after that, around 11 p.m.: more coffee and cheesecake but I didn't partake.

Everyone started making motions to leave around 11:30 and we headed home as well. It was still light out when we arrived back in Flyinge...or as light as you could see under the cloud cover. We all slept in late today, and are taking it fairly easy. Anders just went up on the attic to look at the vacuum cleaner (it's a built-in, and one outlet isn't working), and I've been doing laundry and paying bills.

Welcome to the second half of the year!

Edited to add: Anders just came down from the attic with a section of the vacuum piping which is stuffed full of stuff that got stuck. YUCK!
 tired
mood: tired
music: Anders sawing in the attic


Comments

As I posted, we had the same weather, although I failed to remain as cheerful as you did. We skipped the traditional food as it was just too awful to eat cold stuff and opted for a very unpatriotic Spanish Rice with artichokes instead. I guess i'll be getting my Swedish citizenship taken away for that faux pas :-) I'll do the whole herring and potatoes on a sunny day (if we ever get one).

Your day sounds like fun, despite the weather. And with a shooting aim like she has, you'd better not piss off Karin - ha, ha!

I was only cheerful on the outside. :P

(Anonymous)

One of my favorite Swedish holidays - sounds like the weather was like I have usually experienced! But at least you didn't need winter coats. Love,LIzardmom

Ha! So true!

A built-in vac sounds lovely...particularly as our tank vac is currently not functioning. :-( I won't horrify you by describing the state of my living room carpet...

Midsummer sounds absolutely lovely, albeit wet. But I think I gained about five pounds just reading about all the food!

The food is pretty serious!

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